Customer Review

188 of 215 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fluffy, but very good, April 23, 2007
This review is from: Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High (Paperback)
This is kind of a fluffy business book... I generally hate these books, but this one has a creamy nougat center of knowledge that I've never encountered before. At 200 pages, its a must read. Please ignore the Franklin Covey vibe: the authors really have something important to say.

This book solidifies what many have said before: those who genuinely understand how to communicate have all the power in this world. It's not about knowledge, skills, manipulation, or strength... Those who can get groups of people who distrust each other to come to genuine consensus will always have power. Why? Because its so incredibly difficult... and its so incredibly important.

This book helps you identify the behaviors that help -- and the behaviors that hurt -- when building consensus. Make no mistake about it: human beings are poorly designed to get along with each other. Our brains are wired for competition. At most we co-operate with genetically similar groups. Evolution has wired us to not want to work together with people too different from ourselves, lest we threaten our own survival.

That may have been useful 2000 years ago in highly competitive tribal cultures, but in the modern world such prejudice is usually counterproductive.

This book helps you identify which behaviors may be hindering you. When confronted, a human's instinct is fight or flight. In a conversation, the fight instinct comes out in argument, sarcasm, or belittling. Likewise, the flight instinct comes out as keeping quiet and doing nothing, or totally ignoring what the other person said... typical passive-aggressive behavior.

This book also presents exercises to help you keep a cool head, communicate clearly, and get things done... despite your evolutionary wiring.

If you read this book, and practice their exercises a lot, you will slowly gain a reputation as somebody who can really make things happen.

Highly recommended!
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